ATTENTION FOR A SECOND, YO:
Real talk, this animal (the Ordovician Helmet crab, aka the Horseshoe crab, aka the Atlantic’s most at-risk shelled animal) is of a species that is close to 450 million years old. They are considered endangered, and often wash up on the shores of Long Island (this big lady crab was at TR park in Oyster Bay)
Note: these animals are often used to extract their blue blood and cure diseases. They help the ocean out big time. And they are one of the longest-surviving species on the planet. They’re washing up and people don’t think to/are scared to save them because of their deceivingly harmless barbs.
Take note, friends. Their barbs are NOT stingers. They cannot hurt you. Their pinchers aren’t pinchers, they’re just little legs that are actually really soft! The barb tail they have is actually what they use to stick into the ocean floor or the sand when waves knock them over or they flip onto their backs by accident. And you can help them out by flipping them back over very quickly and helping them scuttle back into the water if you see them struggling.
This is way important. Just call me the Sarah McLachlan of horseshoe crabs.
Hey everyone, as someone who grew up with horseshoe crabs literally everywhere I’d like to bring your attention to these fine, prehistoric bottom-feeders. Growing up in Gerritsen Beach (In Brooklyn, NY) meant seeing dozens upon dozens of horseshoe crabs trapped in fishing lines and shredded sandbags, stuck above the high-tide marks during low tide, and sometimes washed up on the rocks. Which led to probably hundreds of hours cutting them loose every summer during the mating seasons. Horseshoe crabs are 10000% harmless to you and can be easily handled (just don’t dangle them from their tails (known as a telson); that’s painful and you may accidentally rip the tail off and they’ll have to wait until their next molt to grow a new one!).
If you see a horseshoe crab on the beach, gently nudge it with your foot. Most of them will respond by waving their telson around. If it doesn’t respond, flip it over to check for moving limbs. If you suspect it is tangled and can’t move and you can’t bring it straight to the water because of this get a bucket of sea water and slowly pour it over the book gills and legs. As you work to untangle these rad critters, which are actually more closely related to spiders than crabs, pour more water over it periodically until you can return it to the ocean. However, during the mating season horseshoe crabs will attach together, with the large female toting around a smaller male behind her, and bury themselves in sand and mud to lay their eggs. Do not dig up these horseshoe crabs unless you are absolutely sure that they are stuck above the high tide mark. If you see dozens of beached horseshoe crabs but none of them are clinging together and the tide is going out, please do your part and turn them back in the direction of the water. Place them at the water’s edge and let them decide which direction they want to go in to be absolutely sure that they aren’t stranded accidentally.
Horseshoe crabs cannot bite you, and their “pincers” are really just for picking up food and don’t hurt if they try to grab you. They may be a little intimidating-looking but they are harmless and will be grateful for your help.
Just look at all those friendly legs waiting to tickle you in thanks for helping them not die a slow death of baking in the sun and getting eaten by gulls and other sea birds!
Please, protect our bottom feeding horseshoe crabs at all costs. Yes their blood has important medicinal value, being copper-based unlike our iron-based blood, but overharvesting them can have devastating effects on our underwater ecosystems. When being harvested for blood they should actually be returned to the ocean after taking a little, rather than bled dry
PLEASE ALSO KNOW THAT IT’S ACTUALLY A REALLY BIG DEAL IF A HORSESHOE CRAB’S TELSON IS RIPPED OFF AND THEY WILL MOST LIKELY DIE IF THAT HAPPENS!!! SO PLEASE NEVER GRAB ANYWHERE NEAR THERE IF YOU’RE TRYING TO RETURN THEM TO THE SEA. Please help the horseshoe crab at all costs
I was born and bred on Long Island (specifically on the North Shore) and have probably seen more of these than my actual family. I’ve also seen people who thinks it’s hilarious to legit just stomp on them. Don’t fucking do that. Flip them the fuck over. Put them back in the fucking water. Pick them up correctly. Don’t be a twat. Hella.